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Local experts react to FDA approval of new Lilly weight loss drug

Lilly drug Zepbound approved for weight loss

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new injectable weight drug from Lilly was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday.

The new drug called Zepbound is essentially the same drug as another Lilly drug that is already on the market called Mounjaro. That drug treats diabetes, and uses the same active ingredient called tirzepatide.

WISH-TV medical expert and former US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said the drug utilizes hormones to help control weight.

“The drugs work by mimicking hormones that are important in regulating hunger,” Adams said. “They both work in the brain to decrease your appetite, but also work in the stomach so you feel more full more quickly.”

Adams said this drug has two hormones to aid in weight loss compared to other drugs that only have one.

“The FDA recommends for people who are obese with a BMI over 27,” Adams said. “And especially if they have high blood pressure, if they have diabetes or pre-diabetes, or if they are having weight-related issues.”

Thomas Hilbert, CEO of Premier Weight Loss, said branding this drug as separate from the diabetes medication could help with insurance approvals.

“What this new approval is going to allow is for more patients to get their hands on this drug for weight loss purposes,” Hilbert said. “For more insurance companies to begin covering these drugs for weight loss purposes, and for the world, in general, to realize that weight loss shouldn’t be so stigmatized.”

Hilbert notes that many people have different metabolisms and hormonal changes that can affect weight loss, and it is often more than portion control and exercise.

A Lilly release about the drug says patients have lost an average of 48 pounds at the highest dose.

“Everyone’s body truly is different, and these drugs kinda help level the playing field,” said Hilbert.

This drug does not come without risks. These include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, and stomach pain.

Zepbound should be available in the U.S. by the end of the year, and will cost over $1,000 for a month-long supply.